Motte and bailey castle north of Chennells Brook Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014389.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 02-Mar-2021 at 20:28:47.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Sussex
Horsham (District Authority)
North Horsham
National Grid Reference:
TQ 18825 33259

Reasons for Designation

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey, adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape. Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally, with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they were superseded by other types of castle.

The castle near Chennells Brook Farm survives well despite some alteration of its form by changes in the course of the Chennells Brook after the castle's abandonment. It retains considerable potential for the recovery of evidence for the nature and date of occupation of the castle both from the motte and bailey areas and from the moats. The castle remains exemplify the diversity of form of this class of monument and the adaptability of such castles to suit a range of locations in the landscape rather than just hilltops.


The monument includes the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle dating from the Norman period. The castle features a central mound, or motte, which has been raised up to 2.2m above the level of the surrounding land to form an originally circular summit which would usually have been the site of a wooden keep. Around the motte was dug a broad moat averaging 10m across, the western and southern arms of which are occupied by the present Chennells Brook, the eastern side surviving as a marked dry ditch. West of the motte is the bailey area, a quadrangular courtyard 75m long by 25m-55m wide, which is again defended by an outer ditch, in this case some 7m wide. The whole area would originally have been surrounded by water channelled from the stream. On the south side of the bailey ditch is a causeway which may represent the original entrance to the castle. In addition to these earthworks, the former stream channel, which was altered when the castle was constructed, survives on the northern, western and southern sides. The former stream was incorporated into the castle design by creating a marshy area for additional defence. The castle was approached by a causeway from the dry ground to the south. The present course of the Chennells Brook dates from after the castle's abandonment and crosses the earthworks in several places, including the approach causeway at the southern edge of the castle area. The motte has also been altered to its present kidney-shaped summit as a result of erosion by the stream. All fences in the area of the monument are excluded from scheduling, allthough the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Braun, H, An Early Norman Castle Site In North Sussex, (1936)
County Monument No. 3632,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].